First Step Quickness – He's too big and long to really illustrate any level of short area burst, he needs room to get moving and even his peak speed off the edge is only modest. He'll struggle to sustain through the apex of his corners, needing to gear down and pivot instead of playing with quickness.
Hand Technique/Length – His hands are inaccurate, but active. Like how many different ways he tries to challenge tackles: lift, chop, sweep, long arm...there's some subtle flashes here relative to what the minus plays may suggest. He needs to stay pressed and keep his length more consistently.
Pass Rush Counters – He's late to flash the hands and too often tries to turn the corner with a dip. He's not that level athlete and leverage betrays him except against bigger bodied tackles. Want to see more punch, stab, long arms and subsequent counters...he has them, just wants to use them.
Flexibility – Pad level issues flash immediately out of his stance and as he's stacking out on blockers to create his separation. Lateral bend is not a strength, he shows poor lower body lean and flex in his efforts to duck the inside shoulder and flatten his rushes.
Run Defending – Just want to see him decide to own his space. He's always working, trying to get over the top of blocks but in his efforts he's surrender space and open up cut-back lands. When he's disciplined, he's quite effective to lock out and establish his gap.
Competitive Toughness –For every time you want to write him off for getting bubbled four yards off the LOS, he comes back the next play and hits power rushes or stacks blocks and is picture perfect. Consistency issues abound thanks to his height and hand placement.
Tackling – He's got a great presence in a collapsed pocket. Reaches around bodies, bats at the football, he's hard to miss in the pocket. He's not going to break down tackle challenges one on one in space and have success but his reach gives him some margin for error.
Lateral Mobility – For his size, he's able to get some width and redirect surprisingly well. Don't ask him to cut, slash or crash down into B-gaps from outside alignment and expect really clean reps, he's got a ton of surface area and while he's nimble enough, he's not NIMBLE.
Stand Up Ability –Is not going to offer anything to a team looking to implementing him in stand-up role. If anything he needs to be kicked the other way and pushed inside as a B-gap rusher on obvious passing down and distances.
Football IQ – Inconsistencies in hand placement can be maddening, given his flashes. He's a power player, want to see him fully embrace playing as a power player. He has enough nuance to his game to suggest he's only scratching his surface as a player.
BEST TRAIT – Length
WORST TRAIT – Leverage
BEST FILM – Mississippi State (2018)
WORST FILM – Wisconsin (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Anthony Nelson has some terrific tools at his disposal to become a heck of a football player. He's not there yet. Nelson is too carefree with his real estate, to quick to give ground off the LOS to try to scrape over blocks and that creates liabilities. Nelson isn't the quickness or most precise with his hand counters yet either, but he has very strong flashes of power rushes and is an improving player in this regard. Nelson is preferably a player than can be weaned into a role over his first few seasons.
Round Grade - Fourth Round